You are here: home > guide > moving scams
stress free moving

How to Avoid Moving Scams?

How to pick a reputable mover, when the moving industry is known for rip off companies looking to scam every client they can? You can easily avoid a dishonest mover by learning some of the shady ways of these false companies. Follow the smart way to choose a professional mover in Los Angeles or anywhere in the world for that matter. Below you willavoid moving scams find most commonly known ways "movers" use to trick you.


Shipment Hostage
Bait and Switch
Delivery Overcharges
Delayed Delivery
Shipment Abandonment

Let us now explore each one of them in details:

Shipment Hostage:

Movers that are looking to scam you will provide you with a very low estimate to attract your attention, but then they will turn around and add extra charges on once they load your shipment in their trucks. As you can imagine, their original moving quote is not binding, so they can add a lot of additional fees - tripling your moving budget. The key to avoid this situation is to read the order for service very carefully before signing it. Many people don't want to read through the whole contract and fine print just to engage in a binding contract without realizing what it is all about. If you are given a flat rate quote, go through the contract and make sure it doesn't obligate you to any additional charges, after all what kind of flat rate quote is it if you have to pay extra. If you have got an hourly rate, check with your movers if there're any additional fees for long carry or stairs. The only extra charge with an hourly rate should be your cost of boxes and packing materials, actual packing services should be included in an hourly rate. Top

Bait and Switch:

Movers that are using "bait and switch" will provide you with a very low moving quote over the phone, but then they will switch it to a much higher rate, telling you that they are over booked, due to a busy moving season, last minute booking, extra charge for long carry, extra charge for stairs etc.. To protect yourself against this kind of rip off, let foreman to adjust your quote before movers start working. In this case you will know for sure how much it will cost you and whether or not you can afford it. Don't be afraid to send movers back if the price is not in your budget. You are not obligated to retain their services. If you find yourself in this situation, pick up the phone or search the internet for another moving company, a lot of local movers will be happy to assist you with last minute booking. This time look for a company that will provide you with a form called "not to exceed". It's a California State Law that requires every moving company to provide the price before the actual move that they can not exceed no matter what. The price will be higher than your quote and it doesn't mean that you will have to pay that much. It simply protects you against overcharges and hidden fees. Top


Delivery Overcharges:

Movers could blame you for not providing the correct information at the time when the quote was given to you. Extra charge per cubic foot on the truck (usually 5-8 times higher than original) or trilppe fees for extra pound of weight or extra charge for in transit storage or extra charge for delivery from the storage to your final destination the list goes on and on. Once again, ask your movers to provide you with a "not to exceed" price. It's a California State Law that requires every moving company to provide the price before the actual move that they can not exceed no matter what. The price will be higher than your quote and it doesn't mean that you will have to pay that much. It protects you against overcharges and hidden fees. Top

Delayed Delivery:

Most common and unpleasant rip off above all. The "mover" will provide you with the delivery date and time only to break their promise later on. The reason for this could be anything. It happens mostly with long distance consolidated moves, when the truck is stuffed with several different shipments. The mover will have to drop off all other shipments on the way, before delivering yours. Consolidated shipping is a common practice and works very well, when exercised by an experienced, professional mover. However, if you hired a rip off mover, the delivery date could be 4-6 weeks away from the original promise date. There's little you can do about it, if the shipment is on its way, however there're a few things you can check before the move. First of all make sure that the mover is licensed for local and interstate moving. If the mover is pulled over on the way without license the truck with all of your belongings will be impounded for further investigation. If that happens you are looking at several months of delay. Another thing to check is reputation of the company, check BBB.com for reviews and complains, look them up on review websites, ask your friends or relatives etc. Simply put, check their background before engaging in a contract.Top

Reckless Abandonment:

This is the scam where you not only lose your time and money, but in most cases all of your belongings as well. Your so-called "movers", usually a fly by night "company" is a group of people that rented a truck with the intention to steal your possessions and money. They will give you a very low moving quote and always ask a deposit or money upfront. Once everything is loaded on the truck and the cash is in their pockets they will smile and promise you to deliver everything on time. Later on they will go through your shipment taking everything of value that can be sold fast and then abandon the truck with the rest of your items. Most likely you will never see neither them nor your possessions ever again. There's no way to protect yourself against this kind of a scam, but doing a detailed research of a company you are thinking of hiring. Remember - license is a must, among other points are BBB profile, physical address, own trucks, years in business, online reviews etc. Even if everything checks out and you are sure the movers can be trusted, ask for foreman's cell phone number and write down license plate number of the truck. In the very worst case you will be able to give the police some info to help them find the truck with the leftovers of your shipment.Top


Let's take a look at some other ways to save you money and protect your belongings:

Request an on-site estimate when applicable. Most of the moving companies and van lines will be happy to provide you with free of charge on-site estimate.

Make sure a company you are hiring has a business address. Licensed moving company will have a real physical address with at least 5-10 office employees and 20-30 movers. Google maps provides you with a very useful feature, where you can see pictures of actual streets and buildings. So you can easily track the address and see whether the name and logo of the company is on the building or not. In most cases you would see a warehouse type of building with moving trucks parked next to it.

Check for referrals. Chances are some of your friends or relatives have used a moving company in the past, so they will be able to provide with honest and legitimate feedback and recommendations. Even if your friends recommended you a particular mover, don't forget to check them out on BBB.com. There's a chance that the company's reputation has been damaged due to recent events. Companies open and close every day for many reasons. Trust your friends with the advice, but don't trust the company until you check it yourself.

Give yourself a choice when choosing a mover. Don't hire the first guy who comes by or calls you with a quote. Our recommendation is to get at least 3-4 moving quotes. You will see how easy it is to spot a fraud when you have three very close quotes and one at a deep, almost unreal discount. Remember, you get exactly what you pay for. Keep in mind that if you are given an estimate based on cubic feet, the mover will be able to add extra fees all day long. You want to find a mover that will provide you with an all inclusive hourly rate or a flat rate, with a signed "not-to-exceed" form.

Never agree to a deposit or money upfront. Professional moving company would never ask for a payment before the job is complete. Reputation is a lot more important than money. Confident moving company knows how to finish the job fast and problem free.

Check the truck when your movers arrive. It has to have company's logo and movers have to be dress in a company's uniform. You can easily spot rented truck and day labor hired by rogue movers.

Never agree to sign a skinny or partial order for service form. The prices and conditions have to be final. If it's an hourly rate make sure the rate is correct and check for any extra charges. If it's a flat rate, make sure the price is correct before you sign up for it. Check insurance paper work, any reputable mover will offer you additional protection through affiliated insurance company. Even if you don't need extra moving insurance, it will be a good sign if a mover actually offers you one.